Infowars host Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas on Friday as he faces nearly $1.5 billion in court judgments over conspiracy theories he spread about the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in bankruptcy court in Houston. His filing lists $1 billion to $10 billion in liabilities.
The bankruptcy filing comes as Jones faces court orders to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages to relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for calling the massacre a hoax.
An attorney representing Jones in the bankruptcy case did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A Connecticut jury in October awarded the families $965 million in compensatory damages, and a judge later tacked on another $473 million in punitive damages. Earlier in the year, a Texas jury awarded the parents of a child killed in the shooting $49 million in damages.
In Connecticut, Jones also filed a notice Friday saying his bankruptcy filing halts all proceedings in that case. A judge was scheduled to hear arguments Friday morning in the Connecticut case on a motion by the Sandy Hook families to attach the assets of Jones and his company to secure money for the damages awards.
The families’ motion to secure Jones’ assets also asks the Connecticut judge to bar Jones from transferring or disposing any of his assets without permission of the court.
Jones has laughed at the awards on his Infowars show, saying he has less than $2 million to his name and won’t be able to pay such high amounts. The comments contradicted the testimony of a forensic economist at the Texas trial, who said Jones and his company Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth as high as $270 million. Free Speech Systems is also seeking bankruptcy protection.
In the Texas and Connecticut cases, some relatives of the 20 children and six adults killed in the 2012 school shooting testified that they were threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show. One parent testified that conspiracy theorists urinated on his 7-year-old son’s grave and threatened to dig up the coffin.
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, testified that people mailed rape threats to her house.
In documents filed in Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy case in Texas, a budget for the company for Oct. 29 to Nov. 25 estimated product sales would total $2.5 million, while operating expenses would be about $740,000. Jones’ salary was listed at $20,000 every two weeks.